RCP Guidelines Database

Royal College of Physicians Guidelines Database

The Royal College of Physicians has developed comprehensive resource for identifying widely accepted clinical guidelines and it is hoped that members of the specialist societies will find the following information useful.

It is one of the Royal College of Physicians' core functions to set and improve standards in medical practice. Guideline and audit projects are both essential in setting targets and measuring if they have been met.

Much audit and guideline activity is carried out by specialist societies; the Clinical Effectiveness and Evaluation Unit of the Royal College of Physicians has been working with the Clinical Effectiveness Forum since November 2000. The brief of the Clinical Effectiveness Forum is to share experience on evidence based multidisciplinary guideline production and co-ordinate clinical effectiveness activities to achieve greater effect. The Clinical Effectiveness Forum is attended by a guideline/audit lead from each of the medical specialities that come under the RCP umbrella.

The forum developed a central database of clinical guidelines, produced over the preceding five years, covering all the areas of clinical practice that come under the RCP umbrella. Clinical guidelines are "systematically developed statements to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate health care for specific clinical circumstances". They should "make explicit recommendations with a definite intent to influence what clinicians do". Guidelines are intended to describe the diagnosis and management of a particular condition and should provide a clear indication of the best choices for the clinical management of a patient.

The database can now be accessed via the Royal College of Physicians website:

Although patients, carers and relatives are welcome to use the database, it was designed for use by healthcare professionals familiar with guideline terminology.

The database has specific criteria for inclusion:

  1. All UK guidelines produced in the previous five years and relevant to the specialities covered by the Royal College of Physicians.
  2. Non-UK guidelines are included if they are of relevance to UK practice.
  3. A few guidelines from earlier years are included, if the relevant specialist society has confirmed their continuing appropriateness.
  4. Guidelines on performance or accreditation for procedures are included only if they have clear impact on clinical management of a specific condition.
  5. It is evident that the guidelines meet the AGREE criteria.
  6. Matters of training are excluded.

The Clinical Effectiveness Forum in conjunction with the Clinical Effectiveness and Evaluation Unit is continually searching for guidelines that meet the inclusion criteria and currently, the database is updated quarterly.

For further details, please contact:

Penny Irwin
Project Co-ordinator
Clinical Effectiveness and Evaluation Unit
Royal College of Physicians London
11, St. Andrews Place
Regent's Park
London NW1 4LE

Tel: 020 7935 1174 Ext: 349
Fax: 020 7487 3988
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